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PETALING JAYA: Crude palm oil (CPO) prices in the third quarter of this year (3Q22) are expected to remain lower than previous quarters as industry production goes into a peak period, says industry expert Sathia Varqa.
Varqa, who is an owner of Singapore-based Palm Oil Analytics, expects the CPO futures active month contract to trend between RM3,800 to RM4,200 a tonne in the July-September period in anticipation of higher production in August to October this year.
“Expectation of higher production in August to October should push prices lower but seasonally prices move higher towards the end of the year,” he said adding CPO will trade nearer to RM4,200 a tonne in 4Q22.
“Malaysian palm oil stock levels, which is the most sensitive variable to pricing, is projected to remain below two million tonnes for the third successive year at around 1.70 million tonnes to 1.80 million tonnes the end of this year.
“This would push prices up in the fourth quarter,” he said.
With Indonesia aggressively refining policies to spur exports to deplete its stock levels, Varqa opined Malaysia will increasingly lose market share.
“The biggest challenge to palm oil pricing comes from the sporadic export policy announcements by the Indonesian government triggering massive price volatility,” he explained.,
Jakarta waived its palm oil export levy until the end of August to boost shipments and reduce its overflowing stockpiles.
In the second half of this year, Varqa expects CPO prices to remain volatile given the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
“Any peace settlement between Ukraine and Russia will bring prices lower very rapidly,” Varqa warned.
Given that Black Sea ports are set to reopen to allow commodities to reach demand market, he believes the resumption of sunflower oil exports from the region would negative impact the edible oil market including palm oil prices as well.
The benchmark CPO futures contract closed RM58 lower at RM3,636 yesterday driven by lower exports for the first 25 days of the month.
A trader with a local futures brokerage said any upside to CPO prices will limited by the bearish supply fundamentals of the CPO market.
Meanwhile, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin said CPO prices are expected to range higher at between RM5,000 and RM5,500 per tonne in 4Q22.
“This is due to the resumption of Indonesia’s palm oil export levy beginning Sept 1, and the expected decline in palm oil production in the fourth quarter, she said in a statement, Bernama reported.